Follow Bob on His Campaign and in the News!
Without money, TV debate best chance for Antonacci to reach statewide audience
Michelle Breidenbach | firstname.lastname@example.org By Michelle Breidenbach |
on October 15, 2014 at 6:27 AM, updated October 15, 2014 at 7:16 AM
Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is prepping for a debate tonight with incumbent New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
This could be his one chance to reach voters across the state on television.
Antonacci, a Republican, is an underdog in name recognition and fundraising. He cannot afford to run television ads with the $75,000 he has left to spend.
"I give Tom DiNapoli a lot of credit for debating me," Antonacci said. "I think it's going to be good for New York to talk about the differences that we have and our vision."
Antonacci is also meeting today with the editorial board of the New York Times, which he expects to make an endorsement in the race.
The debate starts at 7 p.m. at Baruch College. It can be seen live in Central New York on Time Warner Cable News. It will be moderated by Errol Louis, NY1 political anchor, with panelists Liz Benjamin, host of Time Warner Cable's "Capital Tonight," Juan Manuel Benitez of NY1 Noticias and Jimmy Vielkind, Albany bureau chief of Capital NY.
Antonacci is the first candidate from Onondaga County to run statewide on a major-party line in 60 years.
Contact Michelle Breidenbach anytime: Email | Twitter | 315-470-3186.
Antonacci Says State Comptroller Debate is His Chance to Share His Vision for NYS It may be the least important statewide race for voters, despite the obvious arguments over the importance o . . .
http://centralny.twcnews.com/content/news/775327/antonacci- . . .
EXCLUSIVE: TWC News to Host State Comptroller Debate on Oct. 15 Source: centralny.twcnews.com
Time Warner Cable News and NY1 are pleased to announce that Democrat Tom DiNapoli and Republican Bob Antonacci have agreed to a live, televised statewide debate.
Antonacci gets creative to draw small donors, but needs more for public match in NY comptroller campaign
Michelle Breidenbach | email@example.com By Michelle Breidenbach | firstname.lastname@example.org
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci reached a milestone this week in the first-ever attempt for a candidate to qualify for a match of public dollars for the campaign for New York state comptroller. But he still has a long way to go.
Antonacci, a Republican, said he has reached the minimum of 2,000 small donors - defined as individuals who gave between $10 and $175.
But in order to multiply that money by six times with public dollars, he must raise at least $200,000 from those small donors. He said his campaign finance reports due Friday will show he needs to raise about $70,000 more.
In total, he has raised about $175,000, he said reports will show at the end of the week.
The NYS Legislature approved a test of public financing this year in just one race - the statewide race for comptroller. Incumbent Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat, is not participating. He had $2.8 million in his campaign account as of the last filing deadline, in July.
Antonacci said public financing makes it possible for a challenger like him to jump in to a statewide race, although he acknowledges Republicans in New York are generally opposed to using public dollars for campaigns.
"The big money's in New York city. There's a reason why we haven't had an Upstate candidate in 60 years," he said.
Antonacci has employed some creative strategies in the effort to raise money from thousands of ordinary folks.
His campaign sponsored 10 minor-league baseball games, including the Chiefs. He is engaging potential voters on social media. On Facebook, he shared a video of himself singing "I've been working on the railroad" to two seniors.
"I'm not spending time with the special interests, the unions, the lobbyists , the big businesses in New York City," he said. "I'm going to Greene County, New York. I'm going to baseball games. I'm on Facebook. I'm on Twitter."
His campaign bought a big-head Bob mascot, at a cost of about $7,800. Antonacci's son, also named Bob, is wearing it to parades, baseball games and other events.
Last weekend, donors kept saying they couldn't make it to his 8th-annual tailgate party at Tully's at one time or another, so he decided to hold the party for 10 hours, from noon through the Syracuse University football game, which kicked off at 8 p.m.
There is no firm deadline to qualify for public financing, but of course Antonacci needs to get the money soon to be able to compete with advertising before the November election.
A poll out last week said DiNapoli was ahead 56 to 27 percent. Seventy-five percent of those polled said they did not know Antonacci.
"I'm excited about the prospects, but we got to get there," he said. "Otherwise, we won't be on TV and I can tell you what the outcome is going to be."
Contact: Brian Renna (315) 420-0039
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 7, 2014
Bob Antonacci's Five-Point Pension Reform Plan
The State Comptroller has a Fiduciary Duty to Keep Pension Costs Low
SYRACUSE, NY - Today, Republican State Comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci released his new five-point plan to restore and sustain the viability of the New York State pension fund system.
"One of the chief responsibilities of the State Comptroller is to manage the Employees Retirement System (ERS), the Police and Firemen's Retirement System (PFRS), and investments for the Common Retirement Fund (CRF)," said Antonacci.
"As the sole trustee of the Common Retirement Fund, the State Comptroller has a fiduciary duty to keep the cost of the pension systems as low as possible, and to invest the pension funds in such a way as to maximize the income benefit for all New York taxpayers."
Public employee pensions constitute one of the heaviest burdens to state and local taxpayers. In 2014 the average annual contribution rates for the ERS and PFRS were approximately 21% and 29% respectively - more than doubling over the last four years.
This dramatic increase has directly resulted in higher property tax rates across the state, which have ballooned over that same four year period to an all time high of 19.19%.
"As of 2013, the New York State pension systems were $20 billion underfunded. That's $20 billion worth of new tax increases that will inevitably be passed on to current and future generations," continued Antonacci.
Bob's five-point plan for maintaining and sustaining the long-term viability of New York State's pension funds includes:
"I am a certified public accountant and an attorney, and I will not be held subject to any special constituency other than the hard-working taxpayers of New York State."
Bob Antonacci is the two-time elected Comptroller of Onondaga County, which has the highest credit rating in New York State.
www.WHEC.com It's comptroller vs. comptroller in New York election Posted at: 10/05/2014 10:44 AM
By: Associated Press
Democratic New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, chief financial officer for the state, faces an election challenge from a little-known accountant and lawyer who does similar work for Onondaga County and says he's more qualified.
Robert Antonacci said the power of the checkbook is the key to whether state programs - such as economic development projects - are delivering. The 49-year-old Republican also said that following the flow of money through politics is how you clean up corruption.
"You can really get into the engine of government from the experience I have," Antonacci said. "We're going to look at everything in terms of what makes New York state tick."
State economic development efforts, seeding proposed business expansions with tax breaks, funding or other support in return for promised jobs, will be a big initiative if he's elected, Antonacci said. The Cuomo administration's Start-Up New York program is one place the comptroller should be looking and verifying data, he said.
"We're gonna start with the governor and the Legislature, not the village of Podunk," he said, referring to the mission of the comptroller's office to audit government entities small and large.
Democratic Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a 60-year-old former assemblyman from Long Island, said his office's nearly 600 auditors have saved costs and identified waste at state agencies, local governments and public authorities "arguably in the billions of dollars" during his tenure.
At the same time, his stewardship has helped New York's pension fund for public workers rebound from the 2008 national recession and grow to a record $181 billion, with state and municipal contribution rates declining for 2015 and 2016, he said.
Among the audits, he pointed to recent financial reviews of nonprofits and other contractors providing special education services, which found problems including salaries paid for work that wasn't done and taxpayer money spent on personal items such as patio furniture and electronics.
DiNapoli said his office also has audits of the state's Economic Development Corp., including one underway on the "Open for Business" marketing campaign.
He added that oversight of local governments remains a priority, along with big areas such as Medicaid, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Thruway Authority.
Antonacci said one of his favorite audits in Onondaga County concerned a "project labor agreement" for a decade-long lake cleanup project and whether claimed savings were legally or economically possible. Another examined the local convention center.
"When you talk about getting at the underbelly of how governments run, as a CPA I have 30 years of experience of understanding how business operates," he said. "The data is the key, and when you've got a CPA looking at a financial statement it's a lot different than somebody who doesn't have that experience."
As for the state's $180 billion pension fund, Antonacci said his goal will be maximizing the return to taxpayers and not shareholder activism.
DiNapoli, as the pension fund's sole shareholder, has sponsored shareholder resolutions at large corporations calling for more complete disclosures of their political activities, environmental practices and workplace standards at the overseas factories of suppliers. DiNapoli said those measures help protect shareholders, their investments and the companies from potential risks.
The state comptroller's office has a current budget of almost $276 million and total staff of about 2,500. The comptroller's salary is $151,500.
The state this year enacted limited campaign finance reform, including permission for comptroller's candidates to opt for matching public funds.
DiNapoli, who had already raised more than $2.1 million from private donors, declined. He would have had to forfeit more than 30 donation that exceed the $6,000 limit.
Antonacci opted for the pilot program, which authorizes a six-to-one match for each dollar of eligible contributions, up to the first $175 someone donates, but acknowledges it's been challenging and required him to explain it to some donors. He said the $10 and $12 donors had quit believing their donations mattered.
In July, Antonacci reported having raised almost $78,000 in contributions the previous six months. In a later filing Friday, he reported getting an additional $95,000. He still needs about $37,000 to reach the minimum threshold to qualify for matching funds.
ICYMI: Antonacci meets with Syracuse.com
Republican candidate for state comptroller Robert Antonacci met Tuesday with the Syracuse Media Group editorial board.
Antonacci, 49, of Onondaga, is the Onondaga County comptroller. He is challenging Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat. Antonacci is the first candidate for statewide office from Upstate New York in 60 years. He is a certified public accountant and a lawyer.
Here are four takeaways from the meeting:
* Antonacci believes the state comptroller should be auditing the Legislature and the executive chamber, in addition to routine audits of school districts and fire departments. "Albany is a candy store for an auditor,'' he said. Antonacci would use the comptroller's oversight to tie state contracts to political donations and to root out corruption.
* Antonacci would press for pension reform, including a defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k). He criticized DiNapoli's use of the pension fund as a platform for activist shareholder resolutions.
* Antonacci says local government consolidation is meaningless "if you don't take the cost out of the system.'' Many of those costs are driven by state laws governing the awarding of contracts, automatic "step'' pay increases, binding interest arbitration and the prevailing wage. The Legislature and the governor need to act to change those laws, he said.
* Antonacci said he's only able to run for statewide because of public campaign financing. He hears criticism all the time from people who object to using taxpayer money to fund campaigns. His response: "I think a little bit of taxpayer investment to have both candidates get out their message in equal time, in equal amount, is what could save us.''
Earlier Tuesday, we solicited questions from Syracuse.com users. Think First asked:Why does the State GOP seem so disinterested in your Candidacy? We see little effort by the State Party backing your campaigns. If something does not change soon the State GOP might as well fold up shop and exit stage Right. If they are not going to back these Candidates, then make way for a Fiscally Responsible Socially Moderate Third Party. One that represents the interests of the Hard Working People in the State of New York.Antonacci's response:
I don't think they're disinterested. I just talked to Chairman (Ed) Cox today, as a matter of fact. The comptroller's race is not a glamorous race to begin with ... It's tough to get people excited about the comptroller's race. That's why we've had to do some of the things we've had to do. I made a life-sized mascot of myself, for God's sake ...
Chairman Cox has helped out where he has. We have received some money to run some mail programs, email programs and phone banking to try to raise the money.
I just think it's just the overall sense of the comptroller's race. But we've had tremendous support from the GOP.
I will tell you that not being in office hurts. Not having a statewide official, it hurts the whole apparatus. But I think they're doing what they can.
Read the original article on Syracuse.com